What’s New in Gardening? – The Future of Flowers

It’s hard to believe that we are nearly half way through the year already!

Hopefully our gardens are looking good, though once again our spring weather was not the best!

In the flower garden and on the patio we are busy planting up our summer flowers, or hardening off plants prior to planting. We wouldn’t be without our flowers, but my, ‘dead-heading’ plants to keep them flowering through the summer can be hard work and time consuming! Flower breeders though are clever people, let’s take a look how they have been working to make our life easier!

Plants flower ultimately to produce seed and thus complete the life-cycle of the plant. By removing fading flowers we interrupt this cycle by stopping a seed head forming. Thus the plant produces more flowers to keep it blooming through the summer.

Enter then the breeder whose expertise has produced plants where they have removed the chore of ‘dead-heading’ by producing varieties where none of the flowers (or very few) produce seed. Consequently they flower right through to the first frosts of autumn.

You will see examples of this type of plant when you visit your local garden centre.

A good example would be the ‘Solar’ Marigold series. These result from a cross between French and African types. Marigolds produce many flowers and can be a real pain to ‘dead-head’, but with the Solars’, they just produce a carpet of blooms which cover the previous fading blooms, looking superb throughout the summer.

We can find examples of this type of breeding in other species such as begonias, impatiens and petunias.